Laboratory

Laboratory Specialist
Doctors may use laboratory studies to define your illness or to check your response to a new medication. But traveling to several different facilities to obtain these important tests can really disrupt your schedule. Dr. Alfredo Quinonez is an internal medicine physician at the Gaslamp Medical Center in San Diego, California, who considers your time as valuable as his own. His clinic offers onsite lab services that eliminate the need for extra stops in your day and get you back on track faster, whether that’s back to work or home in bed where you belong. You can see Dr. Quinonez for non-urgent concerns by scheduling online, or calling Gaslamp Medical Center.

Laboratory Q & A

by Alfredo Quinonez, MD

What are lab tests?

Laboratory studies are effective tools that Dr. Quinonez uses to help explore your current health status and to see if you’re developing any health conditions, such as elevated cholesterol. Laboratory studies are often conducted on blood and urine samples as well as tissue samples taken for biopsy.

Lab tests can check for specific deficiencies or excesses in your blood, such as an electrolyte panel to measure sodium and potassium. Other labs analyze the health of organs, such as a liver panel or thyroid studies. A glucose tolerance test is a lab study that can determine whether your body is metabolizing glucose (sugar) effectively.

Why do doctors order lab tests?

A quick throat swab can tell Dr. Quinonez if your sore throat is due to a viral infection or has a bacterial source (strep throat) that requires a course of antibiotics. Checking your blood cholesterol levels can determine your risk for heart disease.

If you’re having pain with urination, he may request a urinalysis to look for bacteria that would indicate an infection. Because certain bacteria react differently to certain antibiotics, a urine study can also help identify which medication would most effectively treat the infection.

Dr. Quinonez may send a tissue sample for a lab analysis (biopsy) to investigate whether abnormalities in a skin lesion are signaling precancerous or cancerous changes. Noting these changes early greatly increases the potential for successful treatment.

He can also use lab results to design a new treatment plan or make effective changes in your current treatment for chronic conditions such as:

  • Diabetes
  • Hypertension
  • Heart disease

And lab results can also help determine the need for further diagnostic studies to pinpoint the cause of your illness.   

How are lab tests analyzed?

Blood, urine, and tissue specimens are obtained at the office and then sent to a nearby lab for analysis. Simple tests such as a rapid strep test or blood sugar check can be performed in the office with results available immediately.   

What can affect lab tests?

Some lab values are affected by the foods and liquids you consume. Thus, certain studies require you to be in a fasting state, which generally means nothing to eat or drink other than water for 8-12 hours prior to the blood draw. Even black coffee, tea, or diet soda can affect the accuracy of the study.

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